India's FTP takeaways: marquee five-Test series, more T20Is, fewer ODIs

Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shardul Thakur and others with disappointed looks during the presentation
August 17, 2022

India, runners-up in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) that ended in 2021, have a relatively tough draw in the third and fourth WTC cycles, according to the ICC's new Future Tours Programme for men that runs from 2023 to 2027.

In the third WTC cycle, India play away series in South Africa, Australia and the West Indies; and in the 2025-2027 cycle, they will tour New Zealand, England and Sri Lanka as part of the WTC. With most teams being strong at home, away Tests become crucial for WTC points. Two out of three of India's away opponents in the next two cycles have traditionally been strong at home, although India have won their previous two series in Australia.

India's home opponents in the 2023-25 cycle are Bangladesh, England and New Zealand; and in the 2025-2027 WTC cycle it is Australia, South Africa and West Indies.

India are set to play a total of 141 bilateral international matches in the 2023-27 FTP, behind only Bangladesh (150), West Indies (147) and England (142). India will play 61 bilateral T20Is - the second most after West Indies; 42 bilateral ODIs - the second fewest ahead of South Africa; and 38 Tests - the third most after England and Australia.

Having last played a five-Test series against Australia in 1991-92, India will go back to playing five Tests against them, making the Border-Gavaskar Trophy one of three marquee Test series along with The Ashes and India-England contests. India will tour Australia and England once each for five-Test series, and host them as well. The limited-overs matches between these teams - whether home or away - will be played during separate tours.

The first five-Test Border-Gavaskar series will take place during the 2023-25 World Test Championship cycle, when India tour Australia in the summer of 2024-25. Australia then tour India during the 2025-2027 World Test Championship cycle for five Tests in January-February 2027. India's five-Test series against England are at home in early 2024 and away in 2025. There are no bilateral series between India and Pakistan scheduled in the FTP.

India will also play eight five-match T20I series in the new FTP, which puts them among the busiest T20 international teams in the world. They also have an extended IPL window, during which very little international cricket has been scheduled, in April and May every year between 2023 and 2027.

India's emphasis on T20Is comes at the cost of bilateral ODIs. India will not be playing any bilateral ODI series longer than three matches in the 2023-27 FTP cycle.

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